by Irma Voigt
Senior Staff Writer
At the close of The Placement Exchange, held in Chicago in early March, an ad hoc committee met to discuss recommended changes for future years. The Placement Exchange is student development’s largest employment fair, representing multiple national student affairs organizations ranging from housing to orientation to Greek life.
It was the American Fraternal Association (AFA) representative on the ad hoc committee who made the push for stricter recruitment policies.
“We want employers to be on a level playing field,” said Mindy Kohler, Director of Greek Affairs at Dells State University. “Candidates are being wooed by the items left in their mailboxes rather than the actual positions to which they’re applying.”
Kohler provided the ad hoc committee with a list of recruitment tactics that she observed via a fake candidate mailbox she had established. Kohler reported receiving letters stuffed with confetti, snacks throughout the event, notes of encouragement, and a pen that doubled as a flashlight.
“There are schools that can’t compete in this type of environment, especially with the current economic situation. It was my recommendation that we remove candidate mailboxes completely.”
Not everyone on the committee supported Kohler’s recommended changes.
“We dump thousands of dollars into marketing our department at placement exchanges annually,” said Yvonne Behar, Associate Director of Residential Living at Milton University. “It’s the only way we can get candidates to even consider coming here with our party school reputation.”
Behar admitted to using confetti in envelopes as well as inviting candidates to a swanky social with gourmet cupcakes.
“They’ll find out soon enough that life isn’t like this everyday at Milton. For now, why destroy the dream?” said Behar.
The ad hoc committee agreed to adopt several of Kohler’s recommendations including:
- Confetti and glitter are banned from The Placement Exchange venue at all times
- Candidates may only be provided food and beverages during socials that have been approved by the recruitment chair
- Candidates may not receive gifts worth more than $1.00 via their mailboxes
- Employers are banned from using any language that may lead a candidate into thinking they know their status in the recruitment process
Kohler considers this a small victory.
“Not every institution can be pretty and popular,” said Kohler. “Sometimes you have a Phi Mu type of organization out there on the interview floor. You need to protect them, too.”